Iceboxes had hollow walls lined with zinc or tin. Just as some houses used to be insulated with seawood, so did these iceboxes. It could also be insulated with sawdust, cork, or straw. A large block of ice was placed in a tray located in the top compartment of the icebox. Since cool air descends, the cold air from the ice would glide down the sides of the ice box to keep veggies, fruit, meat, and milk cool on the hot summer days. Ice was cut from rivers and stored in ice houses and the Ice Man would make door-to-door deliveries of blocks of ice.
The icebox was a great invention and it revolutionized the way we now store food. In fact, some researchers believe it had a direct contribution to lower infant mortality rates during the summer months. Some ice boxes were quite fancy and made an attractive addition to the family’s furniture.